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Conservative Party 2012 conference: Agenda in full
3 years ago
| POLITICAL

Conservative Party 2012 conference: Aganda 

 

The Conservative Party holds its autumn conference in Birmingham between 7 and 10 October. Here is the guide to what will be happening on the conference floor.

 

SUNDAY

 

14.30: Conference opens

  • Party chairman Grant Shapps

14.50: Defence, Europe and International Affairs

  • Foreign Secretary William Hague
  • Defence Secretary Philip Hammond

16.30: Road to 2015 (Closed doors event for party members)

 

MONDAY

 

09.00: The UK in Action

  • Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers
  • Welsh Secretary David Jones
  • Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson

11.00: The Economy

 

  • Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin
  • Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne

14.30: Turning Communities Around

  • Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith
  • Communities Secretary Eric Pickles
  • Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude

16.30: Conservative Policy Forum event on the deficit and welfare (Closed doors event for party members)

 

TUESDAY

 

09.00: Environment, Energy and Climate Change

  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Owen Paterson

09.45: International Development

  • International Development Secretary Justine Greening

11.00: Speech by Mayor of London Boris Johnson

11.30: Health and Education

  • Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt
  • Education Secretary Michael Gove

14.30: Justice and Home Affairs

  • Home Secretary Theresa May
  • Justice Secretary Chris Grayling

16.30: Road to 2015

  • Conservative director of campaigning Stephen Gilbert
WEDNESDAY

10.30: Celebrating the UK

  • Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Maria Miller

11.15: Speech by Prime Minister David Cameron

 

12.30: Conference ends

 

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19828666



This post was modified from its original form on 07 Oct, 1:39
3 years ago

this is another part of the UK Political System, each Political Party and the Trade Union Congress in the UK hold their Conferene's every year starting late September into early October, 

 

the TUC, Lib-Dem's and Labour have had their conferene in the last few weeks, this it's the turn of the Conservative's, so this I will have to be on the ball.

3 years ago

Sounds almost like the Democratic Convention and the Republican Convention only longer.

3 years ago

Actually it would be the same thing..jeeeshhh...must need to go to bed here!

David Cameron 'would veto' EU budget
3 years ago

 

7 October 2012 Last updated at 11:53 David Cameron 'would veto' EU budget

David Cameron: "People in Europe know I mean what I say. They know I'm capable of saying no" Video

 

Prime Minister David Cameron has said he would veto a new European Union budget "if necessary".

The EU is beginning negotiations on its next budget for 2014 to 2020.

 

Mr Cameron also told the BBC that in the longer term the EU should have two different budgets - one for countries in the eurozone and one for those outside the single currency.

 

Last year Mr Cameron vetoed an EU-wide treaty to co-ordinate budget policies and impose penalties on rule-breakers.

 

Speaking on the Andrew Marr show, on the first day of the Conservative Party conference, Mr Cameron said experience showed that "people in Europe know I mean what I say".

 

"I sat round that table - 27 countries, 26 of them signing up to a treaty and I said, 'This is not in Britain's interests, I don't care how much pressure you put on, I'm not signing, we're not having it.'

 

"They know I'm capable of saying no and if I don't get a good deal I'll say no again."

 

He said he would block talks if "massive increases" in the budget were proposed or if a deal that "does not have proper control" was put forward.

 

Two budgets

 

The prime minister said the EU budget was a "classic example of where we should probably start to draw new lines".

 

"There will come a time I believe where you're going to need to have two European budgets - one for the single currency, because they're going to have to support each other much more, and perhaps a wider budget for everybody else."

 

He added that he did not think this would be achieved this time but it was an indicator of the way Europe is going.

 

Mr Cameron also said he favoured a referendum on a renegotiated role for Britain in the EU but once again ruled out holding a simple Yes or No vote on Britain's membership.

 

"The fact is, I think most people in our country don't actually want to leave the European Union or just accept how it is at the moment. They want to change it."

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19862239

 

 



This post was modified from its original form on 07 Oct, 10:34
Conservative conference: Cameron rules out 'mansion tax'
3 years ago

7 October 2012 Last updated at 15:11 Conservative conference: Cameron rules out 'mansion tax'

"I don't want to be a country that comes after you every year with a massive great tax and so that is not going to happen" Video

Prime Minister David Cameron has ruled out a new tax on expensive properties but vowed "further action to ensure rich people pay their fair share".

 

He told the BBC's Andrew Marr show new measures would be unveiled before the next election.

 

His statement comes as Conservative activists gather in Birmingham for the party's conference.

 

Mr Cameron's decision could put him on a collision course with the Lib Dems, who back such a "mansion tax".

 

The prime minister also said the UK is considering curbing migration from some European countries and would be prepared to veto a new EU budget to prevent "massive" increases.

 

Asked about an annual tax on property, he told Andrew Marr: "That is not going to happen."

 

He said that if people worked hard and saved, invested in a property and paid down their mortgage, he didn't want the UK to "be a country that comes after you every year with a massive great tax, and so that is not going to happen."

 

Chancellor George Osborne also rejected Lib Dem calls for a mansion tax - and an annual levy on wealth - saying those ideas were not the right way to make sure the rich made a greater contribution.

 

'Not sensible'

He told Sky News: "I don't think the mansion tax is the right idea because I tell you before the election it'll be sold to you as a mansion tax then after the election a lot of the people in Britain are going to wake up and find their more modest homes have been reclassified as a mansion.

 

"Nor do I think it's sensible to have a wealth tax in the sense of a tax on your wealth levied annually.

 

"But I'm very clear that the rich will have to make a contribution to closing the budget deficit."

 

In addition to his stance on the mansion tax, Mr Osborne is also understood to have ruled out introducing new council tax bands on high-value homes.

 

In his Marr interview, Mr Cameron insisted it was "too early to say" whether the government would miss its key target for public sector debt to be falling by 2015, as some experts are predicting.

 

Page 1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19860672

3 years ago

Council tax freeze

But he said the Conservatives would "level" with the public about the need for another £16bn of spending cuts in 2015-16.

 

"We have to find these spending reductions and if we want to avoid cuts in things like hospitals and schools - services that we all rely on - we have to look at things like the welfare budget," he said.

 

But he promised to stand by his promise not to cut universal benefits for pensioners - such as free bus passes and winter fuel payments.

 

He is also announced a council tax freeze in England for the third year in a row.

 

And there is to be a cap on how much regulated train fares can go up by - so ticket prices will not rise by more than 1% above the rate of retail-price inflation (RPI).

 

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg made it clear at his party's conference that he would only sign up to further cuts in the welfare budget if a wealth tax was imposed by the chancellor at the same time.

 

'We get it'

Questioned about Europe, Mr Cameron confirmed comments by the home secretary in the Sunday Times that a government review was looking at introducing possible controls to limit a new wave of economic migration.

 

He also suggested the EU should consider having two budgets - one for countries in the eurozone and one for those outside the single currency. Last year he vetoed a treaty to co-ordinate budget policies.

 

Opening the four-day conference, party chairman Grant Shapps suggested the Conservatives had been too "shy" about trumpeting what they had done to support low and middle-income earners in tough times.

 

The public were worried about the cost of "paying their bills and filling up their car" and the party had to make clear they were on "the side of every working family".

 

"People need to know 'they do get it'. But they are not mind readers. We need to go out there and tell them."

 

Analysis

image of Chris Mason

Chris Mason

Political correspondent

 

The conference began with a blizzard of mini announcements.

 

Eye-catching, popular and relatively cheap ideas, on everything from council tax to rail fares to the European Union's budget.

 

The idea is to focus on the cost of living for ordinary people and ram home that the Conservatives get many families are struggling.

 

Both the prime minister and the chancellor said there will be new plans to make sure richer people "pay their fair share".

 

But both also said the idea of a tax on big houses - what Westminster types call a "mansion tax" - isn't a goer.

 

Which begs an obvious question. What is their plan for getting the better off to pay more?

 

The chancellor also said he wasn't keen on a "wealth tax," adding, "in the sense of a tax on your wealth levied annually".

 

So that leaves some wriggle room.

 

Many will now ask in which direction they intend to wriggle.

 

Page 2  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19860672

 

Conservative conference: Cameron in benefit cuts warning
3 years ago

7 October 2012 Last updated at 17:01

 

Conservative conference: Cameron in benefit cuts warning

 

David Cameron
Mr Cameron said reducing welfare might prevent cuts to schools and hospitals

Further cuts to welfare, including curbs on housing benefit, may be needed to help fight the deficit, David Cameron has warned.

 

Speaking on first day of the Conservative Party conference, the prime minister said housing benefit may be reviewed for under-25s.

 

He promised "further action" to ensure the rich "pay their fair share".

 

But senior Tories have ruled out a tax on expensive properties or a one-off "wealth tax" backed by the Lib Dems.

 

In other developments as Conservative activists gathered in Birmingham for the four-day event:

  • David Cameron backs a review of EU free movement laws to curb migration and says he would be prepared to veto a new EU budgetto prevent "massive" increases
  • A further £5m will be spent on helping injured British troops by improving facilities at Headley Court
  • Defence Secretary Philip Hammond says there would be a "significant reduction" in British troops serving in Afghanistan in 2013 but the UK would not "cut and run"
  • Foreign Secretary William Hague criticises Ed Miliband's claim that Labour are now the one nation party telling him "you are no Benjamin Disraeli"
  • Dozens of phone-hacking victims write to Mr Cameron urging him to keep an "open mind" on recommendations the Leveson inquiry might make
  • Philip Hammond warns Lib Dems seeking a cheaper alternatives to replacing Trident nuclear missiles that the Conservatives will not compromise
The government has said it needs to find an extra £16bn in savings in the final year of the Parliament, 2015-6, on top of the billions in spending cuts and tax rises already earmarked.
Mr Cameron said cuts to the multi-billion pound benefits bill was one area that would be considered - something that will be resisted by his Lib Dem coalition partners unless it is accompanied by a tax rise on the wealthy.
"We have to find these spending reductions and if we want to avoid cuts in things like hospitals and schools - services that we all rely on - we have to look at things like the welfare budget," he told the Andrew Marr show.
For example, the prime minister suggested it was unfair that an unemployed school leaver can claim housing benefit whereas one who finds work or who goes on to university is unable to claim housing benefit.
Government sources say restricting housing benefit for the under-25s is being looked at but pointed out the measure would only save "hundreds of millions" and there had been no agreement with the Lib Dems.
In the BBC interview, Mr Cameron vowed "further action to ensure rich people pay their fair share" and confirmed new measures would be unveiled before the next election.
But asked about an annual tax on property, the so-called "mansion tax" long championed by the Lib Dems, he said "that is not going to happen".
If people worked hard and saved to buy a property, Mr Cameron added, he didn't want the UK to "be a country that comes after you every year with a massive great tax".
And Chancellor George Osborne also ruled out an annual levy on wealth, another idea floated by the Lib Dems, telling Sky News it was not a "sensible" way of getting the better-off to contribute more.
The prime minister again promised to honour his pledge not to cut universal benefits for pensioners - such as free bus passes and winter fuel payments - effectively ringfencing this part of the welfare budget.

 



This post was modified from its original form on 07 Oct, 10:37
3 years ago

Cost of living

 

David Cameron rules out "mansion tax"

Video

 

Amid concerns that the government is not doing enough to help hard-pressed families, the Conservatives announced a package of measures aimed at helping families struggling with rising living costs.

 

Council tax bills will be frozen in England for a third year in a row and there is to be a cap on how much regulated train fares can go up by.

 

Ticket prices will not rise by more than 1% above the rate of retail-price inflation (RPI), lower than the 3% plus inflation limit in place at the moment.

 

Party chairman Grant Shapps suggested the Conservatives had been too "shy" about trumpeting what they had done to support low and middle-income earners in tough times.

 

The public were worried about the cost of "paying their bills and filling up their car" and the party had to make clear they were on "the side of every working family".

 

"People need to know 'they do get it'. But they are not mind readers. We need to go out there and tell them."

 

Analysis

image of Chris Mason

Chris Mason

Political correspondent

 

The conference began with a blizzard of mini announcements.

 

Eye-catching, popular and relatively cheap ideas, on everything from council tax to rail fares to the European Union's budget.

 

The idea is to focus on the cost of living for ordinary people and ram home that the Conservatives get many families are struggling.

 

Both the prime minister and the chancellor said there will be new plans to make sure richer people "pay their fair share".

 

But both also said the idea of a tax on big houses - what Westminster types call a "mansion tax" - isn't a goer.

 

Which begs an obvious question. What is their plan for getting the better off to pay more?

 

The chancellor also said he wasn't keen on a "wealth tax," adding, "in the sense of a tax on your wealth levied annually".

 

So that leaves some wriggle room.

 

Many will now ask in which direction they intend to wriggle.

 

Page 2  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19864056

3 years ago

We keep hearing from a young fellow over there who is a conservative. He has become quite the star with the Tea Party movement here.  Can't recall his name but I think he may be a future leader on your side of the pond Ray.

 

Conservatism with religious guidelines removed is a great way to run a country.  I like fiscal restraint.  We NEED fiscal restraint if we are to survive as nations.

3 years ago

Cam, at a guess it could be, but, I am not sure,  Boris Johnson, he is an American, could be inline to be the next conservative Prime Minister, just wish he would do something with his hair however.

 

 



This post was modified from its original form on 07 Oct, 14:10
BAE-EADS merger: Hammond set for Nato talks
3 years ago

BAE-EADS merger: Hammond set for Nato talks
BAE worker
The government says British security and jobs must be preserved

The defence secretary is to discuss a proposed merger between BAE and EADS with his French and German counterparts at a Nato meeting in Brussels later.

 

The firms are deciding whether to ask for an extension to Wednesday's stock exchange deadline for them to announce whether the deal will go ahead.

 

On Monday, Philip Hammond said he did not think there was any chance the deal would be settled by the deadline.

 

The merger would create a powerful defence and aerospace giant.

 

The British and Americans are both insisting that the French and German governments reduce their stakes in EADS.

 

At a fringe meeting at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham on Monday night, a senior BAE Systems executive, Nigel Whitehead, made it clear he shared that goal and understood the need to ensure Britain's national security interests were protected.

 

On Monday, Mr Hammond said he did not think there was any chance of getting a deal done by the stock exchange deadline on Wednesday, but it was up to the two companies to decide whether to ask for an extension.

 

Meanwhile, BAE's largest shareholder, fund manager Invesco Perpetual, said on Monday that it had "significant reservations" about the proposed merger, and "does not understand the strategic logic" of the deal.

 

Invesco, which owns 13.3% of BAE, does not appear to be alone. More than 30% of the UK firm's shareholders have expressed qualms, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

 

Defence markets

Ministers believe there are potential benefits to the merger which could open up new defence markets.

 

But unless they are satisfied that national security and the relationship with the US are protected, they could still block the deal.

 

The two companies announced they were in discussions over a possible merger on 12 September.

 

But since then both BAE and EADS, which is largely controlled by the French and German governments, have denied reports that the talks are in trouble.

 

On Friday evening, 45 Conservative MPs wrote to the prime minister voicing concerns over the planned deal, saying it would hand the bulk of Britain's defence industry to a company which would not safeguard UK interests.

 

Earlier, Chancellor George Osborne said the proposed $45bn (£28bn) merger must ensure British security and jobs are preserved.

 

EADS boss Tom Enders has previously urged politicians not to interfere in the proposed deal.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19879916

Tory conference: Activist anger over gay marriage
3 years ago

Tory conference: Activist anger over gay marriage

Ann Widdecombe
Ann Widdecombe voiced the feelings of many at the meeting

David Cameron could only dream of this sort of fervour when he delivers his big conference speech on Wednesday.

 

But it would have been a very different kind of atmosphere had the Conservative leader dared to venture into Birmingham Town Hall on Monday lunchtime.

 

Mr Cameron has angered a swathe of his party with his commitment to legalising gay marriage.

 

And a significant number of them - about 1,000 in total - ran the gauntlet of protesters outside the venue to voice their anger, dismay and, in many cases, sheer incomprehension at his stance.

 

The fringe event - normally sedate affairs, with bored activists picking over sandwiches - felt more like a revivalist meeting. They shouted, they cheered. They cried out "Amen".

 

It fell to Ann Widdecombe to put into words what they were feeling - in particular their anger at being labelled "bigots" by those campaigning for the legalisation of gay marriage.

 

"Is it bigoted to recognise that the complementarity of a man and a woman in a union open to procreation is unique and cannot be replicated by other unions?" she asked, to cheers.

 

"The real bigots, those who really deserve to be described as such, the real extremists, the real nasties, are those who believe that those who dissent from their views have no right to do so and that the state itself should silence them."

 

She poured scorn on the idea that the words "husband" and "wife" could be replaced in official documents by terms such as "partner" or "progenitor".

 

'Damage'

 

The proposal will throw up so many complications and lead to so much prejudice against teachers and foster parents who oppose gay marriage that it would be a disaster for Britain, she argued, not to mention the Conservative Party.

Protesters
Protesters staged a noisy demonstration outside the venue

"It's come about because David Cameron has a very personal conviction - I do not deny wish to deny that - but unfortunately it is doing a lot of damage to the party."

 

For many of those present, the idea of same sex couples marrying in church is an affront to their Christian beliefs.

 

But, for others, it illustrates the yawning chasm between the "trendy" metropolitan world Mr Cameron inhabits and the values of traditional Conservatives.

 

"Why is he doing it?" asked 73-year-old Frank Barrett, from Hinckley, in Leicestershire, after the meeting.

 

"Why is he destroying the Conservative Party with this? Because he is. I have already told my MP if he votes for the change I will not vote for him again.... It's suicidal really."

 

Gayle Brown, a retired religious education teacher, said she would not have pounded the pavements at the last election if this proposal had been in the party's manifesto.

 

"This is a truth that has been in the arena for 2,000 years. I don't think even David Cameron has a right to challenge that," she told BBC News.

 

The Coalition for Marriage, which organised the event has collected more than 600,000 signatures calling for the coalition to drop its proposals.

 

If it goes to a free vote in the Commons, they accept that they will probably lose but they hope to put enough pressure on Conservative MPs, and those from other parties, to get the government to shelve it.

 

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey spoke about the special place marriage between a man and a woman had in Christian teaching, adding: "The matter is so serious... that we cannot allow politicians to plunder something as sacred as this institution."

 

He said he had the "highest regard" for David Cameron but hoped the prime minister would have a change of heart.

 

And then - in a way that only a high-ranking member of the clergy can - he put the boot in.

 

Page 1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19871284

3 years ago

He accused Mr Cameron of pursuing the gay marriage issue not out of principle but out of political expediency and to make the Tory party seem more modern.

 

"If you are not bothered about the real inequality in the country, which is one between the rich and the poor, if you are not doing enough about that then please don't dabble in something which is such a wonderful institution," said Lord Carey.

 

"We need to strengthen marriage, not weaken it."

 

'Nazi Germany'

He also risked controversy by appearing to compare anti-gay marriage campaigners to persecuted Jews in Nazi Germany.

 

Calling for a "sensible debate", he suggested verbal abuse of Jewish people marked the beginning of the totalitarian Nazi state.

 

"Remember that the Jews in Nazi Germany, what started it against them was when they were called names, that was the first stage towards that totalitarian state," he said.

 

And what of those outside the venue who, despite their trade union banners and anti-Tory slogans, find themselves on the same side as the Tory leader?

 

Geoff Dexter, of West Midlands Love Music, Hate Homophobia, who organised the protest, says Mr Cameron is merely reacting to pressure from groups like his and from wider society.

 

Like the Coalition for Marriage, he claims public opinion is on their side.

 

"We need to move forward. We need equality in every aspect of our lives and this is a group of people whose views are outdated," he added.

 

Page 2  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19871284

 

Conservative conference: Miliband no Disraeli, says Hague
3 years ago

Conservative conference: Miliband no Disraeli, says Hague

William Hague
William Hague attempts to put the record straight on Disraeli

William Hague has hit back at Labour leader Ed Miliband's attempt to snatch the mantle of the "one nation" party from the Conservatives.

 

Mr Miliband grabbed headlines last week by saying he had sought inspiration from Tory Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli for his new slogan.

 

Disraeli was associated with a moderate "one nation" brand of Conservatism.

 

But Mr Miliband's claim was mocked by the foreign secretary as the Tories gathered for their annual conference.

 

'Fiscal discipline'

Speaking from the Birmingham conference stage, Mr Hague, a best-selling author of political histories, was cheered by activists as he attacked the Labour leader: "Last week he made claim to be Disraeli.

 

"We know a little more about Benjamin Disraeli, a great Conservative Prime Minister, than he does.

 

"Disraeli was defined by changing his party for the late 19th century while Ed Miliband will be defined by refusing to change his party for the 21st century.

 

"Disraeli believed in fiscal discipline, in self-reliance, in building on historic strengths, in this country paying its way and in taxes being kept down. He was no deficit spender, but was careful to budget for a surplus.

 

"To borrow a turn of phrase, we were led by Disraeli, our predecessors knew Disraeli, Disraeli's beliefs were Conservative through and through, and, Ed Miliband, you are no Disraeli."

 

Countdown clock

In 1872, Disraeli spoke out in favour of helping "the condition of working men", of government intervention to do so and of taking action - controversial at the time - to heal the divide between rich and poor.

 

His brand of Toryism became known as "One Nation".

 

Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to use his keynote conference speech on Wednesday to mount a sustained attack on Mr Miliband's Labour Party, although it is not known if he will directly address the opposition leader's attempt to cast himself as the new Disraeli.

 

Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps has, meanwhile, attempted to fire up activists by telling them "the election starts here".

 

A countdown clock, which also hangs on the wall of Conservative campaign headquarters, appeared behind him, spelling out that it is 942 days until the next election, expected in 2015.

 

Mr Shapps said the Conservatives had to get better at talking up what they have achieved.

 

"Why are we the shy Tories?" he asked.

 

"We have got to get out there and tell them," he said. "Let's get out there and fight our corner."

 

Mr Shapps pointed to his own experience in the 2005 election in Welwyn Hatfield, where he turned a 5,000 Labour majority into a 17,000 Conservative one, to emphasise that there should be very few places that Tories regard as no-go areas.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19864819

 

Tory conference: George Osborne in 10bn benefit cut vow
3 years ago

Tory conference: George Osborne in £10bn benefit cut vow

George Osborne on tax rates 'for the very richest', the 50p tax rate and cap on benefits - Video

The government is determined to cut a further £10bn from the benefits budget to fight the deficit, Chancellor George Osborne has told the Tory conference.

 

One idea he suggested was limiting the number of children in a family that should be supported on benefits.

 

He said the better-off would pay more in taxes, but the budget could not be balanced "on the wallets of the rich".

 

He also unveiled a plan for workers to give up a string of employment rights in return for shares in their employer.

 

The new owner-employee contract allows owners to award shares worth up to £50,000 to their staff, in return for the employee giving up their unfair dismissal, redundancy and training rights and also the right to ask for flexible working.

 

He said there would be no capital gains tax on the profits from the shares, so it would be "owners, workers and the taxman all in it together".

 

Mr Osborne's speech comes with the UK economy in recession, hitting the government's tax takings and its plans to reduce the deficit (the difference between the amount spent by government and the amount it receives from tax etc).

 

In his speech in Birmingham, the chancellor made clear he was not planning to change course and said a further £16bn of savings must be found by 2015/16 to meet his target of balancing the budget within five years.

 

This, he said, would include cutting £10bn more from the welfare bill by 2016-17, on top of the £18bn announced in 2010.

 

Mr Osborne said: "Let the message from this conference be clear: we will finish the job we have started."

 

'Large bill'

He told party members that "the economy is healing" but added that "healing is taking longer than we hoped, because the damage was greater than we feared".

 

Mr Osborne spelt out ideas for cutting the welfare bill, such as limiting housing benefit for the under-25s, so that young people without a job have to live at home; possible further curbs on child tax credits; and allowing benefit increases to be lower than the rate of inflation.

 

Page 1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19865692

 

3 years ago

Comparison of welfare savings with the expected size of welfare programmes in 2017

 

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told his own party's conference last month that he would not allow "wild suggestions" of a £10bn cut in welfare and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander told delegates: "We simply will not allow the books to be balanced in a way that hits the poorest hardest."

 

The Lib Dems advocate a "mansion tax", under which owners of homes worth more than £2m would pay a 1% annual charge on property values above that level.

 

Mr Osborne ruled out such a measure, which is unpopular among Conservative MPs, saying: "It would be sold as a mansion tax, but once the tax inspector has been let in the door, we would soon find most homes in the country incur a mansion tax.

 

"It's not a mansion tax but a homes tax, and this party of homeowners will have no truck with it."

 

But he said taxes for the most well-off would be increased in some form in the next few years, so that those "with the broadest shoulders" paid most.

 

However, he said: "Just as we should never balance the budget on the backs of the poor, it's a delusion to say we can balance it on the wallets of the rich."

 

Universities money

BBC political editor Nick Robinson said the comments by Mr Osborne and senior Lib Dems amounted to "haggling in public" over the size of tax rises and welfare cuts.

 

Mr Osborne presented a united front with Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, following reports the Treasury wanted to scrap the work and pensions secretary's new Universal Credit over fears costs and 

complexity were spiralling out of control.

 

Mr Duncan Smith is understood to have initially resisted the welfare cuts proposal, arguing savings should be found by means-testing benefits such as free bus passes and winter fuel payments for better-off pensioners.

 

In his speech, Mr Osborne accused Ed Miliband of lacking an alternative economy strategy, claiming the Labour leader did not mention the budget deficit once in his Labour conference speech last week.

 

He also announced an extra £200m in government funding for scientific research in English universities and restated his belief in the future possibilities of shale gas.

 

The Research Partnership Investment Fund was launched with £100m of government funding by Mr Osborne in his March Budget.

 

Universities must match any public money with at least double the amount of cash from the private sector or charities, which the government claims could add up to a total investment in research of more than £1bn.

 

The Conservatives began their annual conference with policy announcements aimed at easing the cost of living as they attempt to show they are on the side of hard-pressed families.

 

These include extending the council tax freeze in England for the third year in a succession and capping some rail fare increases to inflation plus 1%.

 

David Cameron also said he would be prepared to veto a new EU budget to prevent "massive" increases.

 

WELFARE SPENDING

  • The Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts that the government will spend £209.2bn on social security benefits and tax credits during this financial year
  • This figure is predicted to increase to £229bn by 2016/17
  • Total government spending is expected to rise from £683.4bn to £756.3bn during the same period
  • In 2010 the government announced welfare cuts of £18bn a year by 2014/15 -
  • George Osborne wants to see £10bn welfare cuts over two years 2015-2017

 

Conservative conference: Welfare needs 'cultural shift'
3 years ago

Conservative conference: Welfare needs 'cultural shift'

Iain Duncan Smith
Iain Duncan Smith attacked what he called Labour's "bitter legacy" of welfare dependency

The government will bring about a "complete cultural shift" in its efforts to end reliance on benefits, Iain Duncan Smith has promised.

 

The work and pensions secretary told the Conservative conference the country was on "a journey back from dependence to independence".

 

Planned housing benefit cuts would lead more people to look for work, he added.

 

Mr Duncan Smith's speech followed Chancellor George Osborne promising an extra £10bn of welfare spending cuts.

 

The savings, to come in by 2016-17, would come on top of £18bn in savings announced in 2010.

 

Mr Duncan Smith is understood to have initially resisted the latest proposal, arguing money should be found by means-testing benefits such as free bus passes and winter fuel payments for better-off pensioners.

 

'Much to do'

But, in his speech,he backed the chancellor and instead attacked Labour for leaving a "bitter legacy" of excessive spending on benefits, adding: "You won't solve an economic problem by denying it."

 

The government is altering the system by introducing a cap on welfare payments of £26,000 per household from next April and bringing in a "universal benefit", replacing the current range of out-of-work benefits.

 

Mr Duncan Smith said: "Now we are toughening up the penalty for failure to seek work. Where claimants fail to meet their clear responsibilities, benefit will be withdrawn for three months for the first offence, six months for the second and three years for the third.

 

"Despite all of the progress we've made in the last two years, there is still much to do."

 

He added: "We will have reduced welfare bills by £18bn at the time of the next election and reformed welfare so it will be more effective.

 

"Early action to cut spending has helped reduce the deficit by a quarter but, with the rest of Europe and the USA in trouble, it's small wonder the UK economy isn't growing as we had hoped.

 

"George Osborne and I recognise this means we will have to make further savings in the welfare budget, but as we save we are agreed we must relentlessly focus what we do on transforming lives.

 

"Gone must be the days when governments spent money to buy their way out of a problem."

 

Mr Duncan Smith cited Department for Work and Pensions research that suggests the cap on housing benefit - due to come in next year - meant a third of people in receipt of payments would look for work.

 

He said: "Even before we bring it in,  capping benefits is having an effect."

 

Concluding his speech, Mr Duncan Smith told delegates in Birmingham: "[It] must be our mission, plain and simple - a mission, not to change people but to restore them. Through fair government, give them the same hope and aspiration that we would all want for our children.

 

"To deliver this mission is to govern as Conservatives. That and only that is the way to win the next election."

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19874361

 

Military face discrimination in housing queue - Pickles
3 years ago

Military face discrimination in housing queue - Pickles

Eric Pickles
Mr Pickles said Labour councils were "turning their back" on the military

Former military personnel face "discrimination" from councils who refuse to prioritise them on housing waiting lists, a minister has said.

 

Conservative Eric Pickles told his party's conference: "Foreign immigrants have been given greater priority on housing waiting lists than those who fought for queen and country."

 

The local government secretary pointed the finger at Labour councils.

 

He also spelled out powers to prevent illegal traveller camps.

 

Mr Pickles referred to housing rules that were introduced to give people with a local connection to their area priority in the housing queue.

 

"We are tackling a great injustice: discrimination against our armed forces," he told delegates in Birmingham.

 

"Precisely because they have served overseas, servicemen and women don't have a local connection under housing rules."

 

'Heroes'

The minister said housing rules had been changed to give military personnel first priority for government house-buying schemes.

 

And he added: "We have given councils new freedoms to allocate social housing to those who have worked hard and given something back to society."

 

He dismissed what he called "equality issues" in housing allocations saying he did not mind "discriminating in favour of our military heroes".

 

Announcing plans to give local authorities the power to prevent illegal traveller sites, he said: "New instant stop notices will allow councils to issue unlimited fines for those who ignore planning rules and defy the law."

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19877567

3 years ago

Didn't they already lower the number of children the welfare system here would provide for? If not, they should. It's been a fact that a lot of women or couples kept having kids in order to stay on welfare.  It's also a fact that many couples are saying they are separated, in order for the wife and or kids to receive full benefits, while the husband is working, part-time or full time, some with good paying jobs.  Some of these people are also receiving benefits from programs that help pay electric bills, pay for insulation in their home, get them appliances, cell phones too of course, and whatever other programs there are that are supposed to be to help the truly needy.

3 years ago

Sherry, very well said, I could not put it better myself, 100% agreement with you.

3 years ago

"I sat round that table - 27 countries, 26 of them signing up to a treaty and I said, 'This is not in Britain's interests, I don't care how much pressure you put on, I'm not signing, we're not having it.'

 

"They know I'm capable of saying no and if I don't get a good deal I'll say no again."

 

If only we had leaders like this in the US!!!!!!!!!!!

 

The public were worried about the cost of "paying their bills and filling up their car" and the party had to make clear they were on "the side of every working family".

 

"People need to know 'they do get it'. But they are not mind readers. We need to go out there and tell them."

 

That is what needs to happen in this country and already is to some extent....then you have to have willing people who can actually THINK for themselves as to what they want!

 

Mr Cameron said cuts to the multi-billion pound benefits bill was one area that would be considered - something that will be resisted by his Lib Dem coalition partners unless it is accompanied by a tax rise on the wealthy.

 

Does this sound like the liberals here or what!?!?

 

Boris Johnson, he is an American, could be inline to be the next conservative Prime Minister, just wish he would do something with his hair however.

 

Maybe that is why he so popular Ray!?

 

It fell to Ann Widdecombe to put into words what they were feeling - in particular their anger at being labelled "bigots" by those campaigning for the legalisation of gay marriage.

 

"Is it bigoted to recognise that the complementarity of a man and a woman in a union open to procreation is unique and cannot be replicated by other unions?" she asked, to cheers.

 

"The real bigots, those who really deserve to be described as such, the real extremists, the real nasties, are those who believe that those who dissent from their views have no right to do so and that the state itself should silence them."

 

She poured scorn on the idea that the words "husband" and "wife" could be replaced in official documents by terms such as "partner" or "progenitor".

 

Good for her!!!!!!!!

 

One idea he suggested was limiting the number of children in a family that should be supported on benefits.

 

This gives me an idea for our Welfare state...anyone on Welfare..the primary starts at a certain amount from there on anyone else in the family the $$$ amount goes down a percentage on each additional person to a period of time where the person on welfare has to start paying thier way back off of Welfare..in other words each month there is X amount subtracted from what they receive up to the final tally of $0!!! That should give a person enough time to actually be out looking for a job and working thier way off the Welfare system!! Does this make any sense!?

3 years ago

Ray..When do you guys vote over there!?

3 years ago

Hi Carol, sorry it as taken so long in responding, but I was out of the City early this morning, and I have not long returned, however, I have included in this post General and European Election system

 

General elections and European elections

Find out how elections are run, where to find election results, how constituency boundaries are decided and reviewed, and how you can stand as a candidate.

 

General elections

 

In a general election, every area in the country votes for one Member of Parliament (MP) to represent them in the House of Commons. There are 650 geographical areas, called constituencies.

 

Each eligible voter has one vote in their local constituency, and the candidate with the most votes becomes the MP for that area.

 

This voting system is called 'first past the post'. Usually the political party with the most MPs then forms the government – though two or more parties with a combined majority of MPs may form a coalition government.

 

There has to be a general election at least every five years. The Prime Minister decides when to call an election. The most recent general election was held on 6 May 2010. 

 

 

If an MP dies or resigns between elections, there is a by-election in their constituency.

European elections

Elections for the European Parliament take place every five years. The last European elections were in June 2009, and the next elections will be in June 2014.

 

Since the 2009 elections there have been 72 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) representing the UK. The UK is divided into 12 regions, and each region has between three and ten MEPs.

 

MEPs are elected under a proportional representation system. In Britain, you have one vote to elect all of your MEPs. Each party puts forward a list of candidates, called a regional list, and you vote for one of these lists or for an independent candidate. The parties are then allocated a number of MEPs according to their share of the vote.

 

In Northern Ireland there is a different voting method, the 'single transferable vote'. You vote by ranking the candidates in order of preference.


The Electoral Commission

The Electoral Commission is an independent body which aims to increase public confidence and participation in the democratic process. Its website provides information on many issues connected with elections, as well as data and results for past elections.

 

The Commission also offers factsheets on a range of topics including ballot secrecy, donations to candidates, party political broadcasts, referendums and e-voting.



This post was modified from its original form on 10 Oct, 10:00
3 years ago

Police and Crime Commissioner elections

On Thursday 15 November 2012 new elections are taking place in England and Wales (excluding London).

 

On this date you will be asked to choose a Police and Crime Commissioner for your local police force.

 

Who is standing for election?

 

The elections will happen in 41 police force areas in England and Wales (excluding London). To find out who is standing for election in your area and see information from candidates, visit www.choosemypcc.org.uk. Or you can call 0800 1 07 07 08 to order printed information about your candidates.

 

Voting system

For this election you can vote for a first and second choice of who you want to win. Victor can show you how.

 

For this election you can vote for a first and second choice of who you want to win. Victor can show you how.


*© The Electoral Commission 2012
The video is owned by the Electoral Commission and may be shared by others only in its entirety and without amends or manipulation. Use only the embed code provided for the full version of the video – this video must not be shared in part.

 

For more information on the voting system in these elections visit our voting system page.

 

Role of PCCs

The Police and Crime Commissioner will be responsible for holding the Chief Constable and police force to account on the public's behalf. The Police and Crime Commissioner will oversee how crime is tackled in their area and aim to make sure the police are providing a good service.

The Police and Crime Commissioner role includes:

  • meeting the public regularly to listen to their views on policing
  • producing a police and crime plan setting out local policing priorities
  • deciding how the budget will be spent
  • appointing Chief Constables and dismissing them if needed.

Information booklet

In late October, every household in England and Wales (excluding London) will receive a booklet explaining more about these elections and how to fill in your ballot paper. You can also download the information booklet here.

Information booklet – Alternative formats and translations

Alternative formats and translation will be available here shortly. Contact us for more information.

 

Register to vote

You must be registered in order to vote. The registration deadline for these elections is 31 October 2012.

Useful links

3 years ago

Local government elections in England

The voting system

 

First past the post.

 

Who am I voting for?

 

Between one and three councillors to represent your ward on the local council. There are 388 local councils in England and about 20,000 councillors.

 

How to vote

 

Always read the instructions for filling in the ballot paper carefully, even if you have voted before.

 

The ballot paper lists the name of each candidate along with their party name, party logo and their address.

 

Depending on where you live you will be able to vote for between one and three candidates. The instructions at the top of your ballot paper will tell you how many candidates you can vote for.

 

Simply put an X (a cross) next to each candidate that you wish to vote for. You do not have to use all of your votes; the suggested number is a maximum.

 

If you make a mistake then you can ask the polling staff to give you another ballot paper.

 

You may also be voting in other elections on the same day.

 

Who is elected?

 

The number of candidates to be elected will be the same as the number of votes that you were allowed. The candidate with the most votes is elected first, then if required the candidate with the second highest number of votes is elected, then the third placed candidate.

 

No candidate needs to get more than half of the votes cast. If there is a tie then a candidate is selected by the drawing of lots (i.e. a method of selection by chance such as tossing a coin or picking a name out of a hat).

 

http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/how_do_i_vote/voting_systems/local_government_elections_in.aspx

3 years ago

Carol, the more Cameron veto the EU the more pleased the Brits are,  I've seen a report that I have not posted as yet, due to me having a black log of reports to thread, however, Cameron suggesting a referendum on our EU membership/relationship after the Election in 2015, this alone may getting Cameron re-elected in 2015 

Tory conference: John Redwood urges "moderation" from fellow Eurosceptics
3 years ago

Tory conference: John Redwood urges "moderation" from fellow Eurosceptics

Sign at Conservative Party conference
Many Conservatives believes the UK's relationship with Europe is now at a crossroads

Conservative MP John Redwood has urged fellow Eurosceptics to "come together" and argue their case for a referendum using "moderate and sensible language".

 

Eurosceptics should "build not destroy bridges", he said, supporting a process of EU re-negotiation leading to a public vote after the next election.

 

And he hit out at the UK Independence Party, seen as a threat to the Tories.

 

He said UKIP had no MPs and would have little influence however well they did at the 2014 Euro elections.

 

Speaking at a fringe meeting organised by the Bruges Group think tank, Mr Redwood said despite recent speculation over the issue the government did not want an EU referendum in the current Parliament.

 

Those, like him, who wanted a so-called "in-out" referendum had to accept the "political reality" that the leadership of all three main parties were against putting the issue to the public in the foreseeable future.

 

"I don't think there will be a referendum before the next election unless some very big event on the continent changes everything," he said.

 

'True doctrine'

But he suggested the government's position had shifted and ministers were now talking of re-modelling the UK's relationship with Europe.

 

It was the duty of Eurosceptics to help "flesh that out", he suggested, and help produce a "better deal" that could then be put to the British people for their consent.

 

As this important juncture in Europe, he warned against internal divisions within Euroscepticism which he said only played into their opponents' hands.

 

"Eurosceptics take great delight in beating each other up, criticising each other and trying to form ever purer groups to put forward the true doctrine.

 

"Eurosceptics must try to win over those who were "broadly in sympathy" with their cause but who were put off by the "apparent extreme language some use and the extreme conduct that some undertake...We need to build bridges rather than destroy them."

 

He added: "Now is the time for Eurosceptics to come together and stop arguing about what group or sect they belong to...Now is the time to set out the case in moderate and sensible language."

 

Asked about the prospect of the Conservatives and UKIP co-operating at the next election, Mr Redwood said that "given the leaders of the two parties that's not looking very likely at the moment".

 

Some Tory MPs fear the apparent surge in public support for UKIP will be enough to rob their party of an overall majority at the next election and UKIP leader Nigel Farage has floated the possibility of an electoral pact - if David Cameron agrees to an in/out referendum.

 

But Mr Cameron has dismissed such talk, describing UKIP as a "waste of time".

 

Page 1  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19872436

 

3 years ago

'Fooling themselves'

Professor Tim Congdon, UKIP's economic spokesman, said Mr Cameron's promise to stand up for British interests in Europe - including his guarantee of a vote on the Lisbon Treaty - had turned "to jelly".

 

"The referendum has to be in or out. If David Cameron and William Hague think by promising a referendum after the election on some silly little negotiation they have had and that is somehow going to neutralise UKIP then they are fooling themselves as well as the people".

 

Hurting the Tories at the ballot box was the best way to get a referendum, he said, adding his party "intended to cause as much damage as possible to other parties so they wake up and listen to the British people".

 

Eurosceptic Labour MP Gisela Stuart, who was also on the panel, said she would not be surprised if UKIP emerged as the largest party in the 2014 European elections.

 

Divisions on the right of the political spectrum over Europe may be good for her party but not for the wider question of the UK's future.

 

She told the meeting some of her colleagues thought she was "bonkers" and "questioned her sanity" for appearing at the Tory conference but she insisted politicians had "got to start talking to each other".

 

"The people who are probably most guilty of not daring to think the unthinkable are the politicians themselves."

 

Page 2  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19872436

David Cameron: Rebalancing UK economy 'slow and difficult'
3 years ago

David Cameron: Rebalancing UK economy 'slow and difficult'

David Cameron: "We need to make sure that every part of plan A is firing on all cylinders" video

The UK is going through a "slow and difficult healing process" as it rebalances its economy, Prime Minister David Cameron has said.

His comments came as the International Monetary Fund said it now expected the UK economy to shrink by 0.4% this year.

 

Mr Cameron said the government was doing "everything it can" to encourage growth in difficult economic times.

 

He said they had cut the budget deficit by a quarter in two years and there were "positive signs" for the future.

 

According to the IMF the prospects for the global economic recovery have weakened as government policies across the world have failed to restore confidence.

 

The fund has downgraded its overall estimate for global growth, with one of the biggest individual country downgrades applied to the UK.

 

'Progress'

The IMF now expects the British economy to shrink by 0.4 David Cameron, who is in Birmingham for his party's annual conference, defended his government's economic strategy and said there were "positive signs" the UK economy was changing.

 

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, he said: "What is happening in Britain is a rebalancing of our economy.

 

"We need more private sector growth, we need a smaller public sector, we need to make more, sell more overseas and manufacture more.

 

"It's a slow and difficult healing process, but it is taking place."

 

On government prospects for cutting the budget deficit, Mr Cameron said the government was "on the right track".

 

"People are very understanding of the difficult inheritance we had - a record budget deficit, the biggest of anywhere in the developed world," he said.

 

"The deficit is down by one quarter in two years. It was 11% of GDP when we came to power- it's now 8%. That is progress."

 

He refused to comment on suggestions that figures expected in the chancellor's autumn statement in December will show the deficit has increased this year.

 

"We don't have those figures yet. We have to wait until the end of the year to see what the deficit is.

 

"It's wrong to take one month's figures or make a judgement half-way through the year."

 

In response to the IMF downgrade, the Treasury highlighted the fact that the IMF had "repeated its advice that the first line of defence against [slowing growth] should be to allow the automatic stabilisers to operate, monetary policy easing and measures to ease the flow of credit - all of which the UK is doing".

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19881293

Conservative conference: Boris Johnson tribute to PM 'Dave'
3 years ago

Conservative conference: Boris Johnson tribute to PM 'Dave'

Boris Johnson: 'If I am a mop, Dave, then you are a broom cleaning up the mess...' video

London Mayor Boris Johnson has paid tribute to Prime Minister David Cameron, praising his "firm leadership" and ability to take "tough decisions".

 

Mr Johnson began his speech by gazing out into the audience and saying: "Where is Dave?"

 

Having spotted the prime minister, the London mayor wished him a happy birthday and backed his strategy to "turn the country round".

 

Mr Johnson has had a hero's welcome from Tory activists in Birmingham.

 

But he has denied trying to upstage the PM, who gives his big speech on Wednesday.

 

'Can-do country'

Mr Johnson, who who is riding high after the London Olympics and his re-election, said Britain had a "chronic tendency to underestimate what we can do".

 

The London games, he added, showed "we are a can-do country, a creative, confident can-do country".

 

In an upbeat speech - packed with jokes and digressions - he talked up what he sees as his main achievements as mayor and paid tribute to some of the politicians, including Sir John Major and Labour figures such as Tony Blair and Ken Livingstone, who had contributed to making the Olympics a success.

 

He joked that his defeated rival for the mayoralty, Mr Livingstone, was now well and truly "finished" after receiving a round of applause at a Tory conference.

 

He joked that Mr Cameron had called him a "blond-haired mop" in the Daily Telegraph, adding: "If I'm a mop then you are a broom, a broom that is cleaning up the mess left by the Labour government and a fantastic job you are doing.

 

"And I thank you and I congratulate you and your colleagues George Osborne, the dustpan, Michael Gove, the jey cloth, William Hague, the sponge.

 

"Because it is the historic function of Conservative governments over the last hundred years to be the household implements, so effective on the floor of the house to clear things up after the Labour binge has got out of control."

 

Mr Cameron laughed along with Mr Johnson, the man seen as a potential future leadership rival, even when the mayor, a classical scholar, ribbed him about claiming to not know the meaning of Magna Carta.

 

'Age of enterprise'

The mayor ended his speech with a rallying cry to Tory activists, who gave him a standing ovation.

 

He said: "We fought to keep London from lurching back into the grip of a Marxist cabal of taxpayer-funded chateauneuf du pape-swilling tax minimisers and bendy bus fetishist.

 

"I will fight to keep this country from lurching back into the grip of the two Eds, Miliband and Balls. Unreformed, unpunished, unrepentant about what they did to the economy and the deficit they racked up.

 

"We need to go forward now from the age of excess under Labour.

 

"Through the age of austerity to a new age of enterprise in which we do what we did in the Olympics and build a world-beating platform for Britain for British people and businesses to compete."

 

Page 1  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19883045

3 years ago

'Comedian'

Mr Johnson later told the BBC Radio 4's World At One programme he would welcome the "spotlight" moving on from talk about his future plans, speculation which he described as "tired and hackneyed".

 

Asked about the furore surrounding Mr Johnson at the conference, Tory donor and strategist Lord Ashcroft said the mayor of London was "doing a great job" and part of his appeal was that "he is a comedian".

 

But he said talk about Mr Johnson as a future leader was media-driven and not "relevant" to the party's primary goal of winning a majority at the next election.

 

"Those are long-term matters. If he ever had those ambitions, he has to get to Parliament, there has to be a leadership contest... you are talking a long timescale even if it is hypothetically possible."

 

Mr Cameron has insisted he does not envy Mr Johnson's "rock star" status, and says he accepts other people will be more popular than him while he is prime minister in difficult times for the country.

 

Asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme what Mr Johnson could get him for his birthday, which he is celebrating on Tuesday, Mr Cameron said: "He's giving me a relatively light day, which is good of him.

 

"The point is, we are lucky in the Conservative Party to have some big and popular figures to take the message out across the country as well as having someone who is a first class Mayor of London."

 

Asked if Mr Johnson could be sent abroad to do something following his time as mayor, Mr Cameron quipped: "I'm not sure which country deserves him the most, but I will take that one away and think about it."

 

An opinion poll for The Observer gave Boris Johnson a net +30 rating among voters, compared with -21 for the prime minister.

 

Page 2  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19883045

Conservative conference: Force against burglars to be allowed
3 years ago

Conservative conference: Force against burglars to be allowed

David Cameron: "If a burglar comes into your home, people aren't sure about what they are allowed to do" Video

Householders who react with force when confronted by burglars are to get more legal protection, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has said.

 

"Grossly disproportionate" force will still be against the law in England and Wales, but the bar will be higher than the current "proportionate" force test.

 

But opponents of such changes argue they will encourage vigilantism.

Mr Grayling also said people who commit the most serious crimes more than once would face automatic life sentences.

 

BBC political editor Nick Robinson said the Conservatives, under Mr Cameron's leadership, had gone from a party promising to "hug a hoodie" to one willing to allow the public to "bash a burglar".

 

Mr Grayling's pledge on tackling burglars follows two particularly high-profile cases, which have divided public opinion over whether the law needs to change.

 

In 1999, Norfolk farmer Tony Martin shot dead an intruder in his home. He was jailed for life for murder but appealed and had the verdict reduced to manslaughter, serving three years in jail.

 

In 2008, Buckinghamshire businessman Munir Hussain was jailed for 30 months after chasing and attacking with a cricket bat one of three intruders who had tied up his family. The intruder, Walid Saleem, received a lesser sentence than Hussain, who was convicted of grievous bodily harm. This was later reduced on appeal.

 

'Gratuitous'

But between 1990 and 2005 there were just 11 prosecutions for people tackling intruders in any premises, including seven involving homes.

 

In England and Wales, anyone can use "reasonable" force to protect themselves or others, or to carry out an arrest or to prevent crime. Householders are protected from prosecution as long as they act "honestly and instinctively" in the heat of the moment.

 

It is still lawful to act in reasonable self-defence, even if the intruder dies as a result. However, prosecution could result from "very excessive and gratuitous force", such as attacking someone who is unconscious.

 

Mr Grayling wanted to change the law on tackling intruders as soon as possible, he told the Conservative conference, saying it would be included in a crime bill passing through Parliament this autumn.

 

It will mean someone who is confronted by a burglar and has reason to fear for their safety, or the safety of their family, and in the heat of the moment uses force that is reasonable in the circumstances but in the cold light of day seems disproportionate, they will not be guilty of an offence.

 

Mr Grayling told the Birmingham conference: "Being confronted by an intruder in your own home is terrifying, and the public should be in no doubt that the law is on their side. That is why I am strengthening the current law.

 

"Householders who act instinctively and honestly in self-defence are victims of crime and should be treated that way.

 

"We need to dispel doubts in this area once and for all, and I am very pleased to be today delivering on the pledge that we made in opposition."

 

Asked ahead of speech to give an example of what would not be allowed, he told the BBC that stabbing to death a burglar who had already been knocked unconscious would still break the law.

 

Page 1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19879314

3 years ago

Burglary in England and Wales statistics since 2001. Informal research by the CPS suggests that between 1990 and 2005 there were only 11 prosecutions of people who had attacked intruders in houses, commercial premises or private land.

 

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe told the BBC he agreed that homeowners need better protection than they currently get.

 

"If we have the law as it is then people complain that it doesn't help the homeowner. And if we higher [sic] the bar, then people complain that it might mean that people go overboard.

 

"I think, probably, there's an argument at the moment for making sure that that bar gets higher, and that the homeowner has better protection, and the burglar is put more on notice that they're at risk if they choose to burgle someone's home while they're in it," he added.

 

'Rehabilitation'

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Mr Cameron of the current legal situation over confronting burglars: "This is something that bothers people, and quite frankly it bothers me.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling: "If you lash out the law should be on your side" video
"There has been uncertainty that if a burglar comes into your home, people aren't sure about what they are and are not allowed to do."
He added that the new laws would give homeowners and householders "a certainty that if they ever got into that situation, they could defend their homes, their property, their family, and I think that's a very important sense that people need to have".
Mr Grayling is seen as a more traditional right-winger than his predecessor Ken Clarke, who was moved to another Cabinet job in last month's reshuffle.
But he will use his speech to stress that there is more to him than the "tough" image portrayed by the tabloids.
And he will stress his commitment to a "rehabilitation revolution" to cut re-offending rates, driven by a "payment-by-results" programme involving charities and private firms.
Adam Pemberton, assistant chief executive of Victim Support, said it was important that people "keep themselves safe" if they detect an intruder. Such events were "really quite rare", he added.
The announcement on householders' self-defence comes after a judge, Michael Pert QC, said that being shot by homeowners was simply a chance that burglars took.
Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, said last month that burglary should always be treated seriously and stressed that householders have the right to use force "to get rid of the burglar".
He admitted "occasionally it looks as if the householder is the criminal", but added: "Well, the householder is not in a position to exercise calm, cool, judgement. You're not calmly detached, you're probably very cross and you're probably very frightened, a mixture of both."
Lord Judge added that measuring whether force was reasonable or not was not simply "a paper exercise six months later".
Conservative conference: Victims to choose punishments, says May
3 years ago

Conservative conference: Victims to choose punishments, says May

Theresa May
Theresa May said the government was working to reduce police bureaucracy [Video]

Home Secretary Theresa May has announced that victims of anti-social behaviour will be allowed to choose the punishments those found guilty receive.

 

She told the Conservative Party's annual conference that they would pick from a "list of options" ranging from "restorative" to "punitive".

 

"They might want it to be carried out nearby or as far away as possible," Mrs May added.

 

She also argued that the Conservatives were the "party of law and order".

 

In her speech to delegates in Birmingham, the home secretary paid tribute to Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes, the policewomen killed recently while on duty in Manchester on 18 September.

 

She said: "Their deaths were a dreadful reminder of the risks our police officers take in protecting their communities every day: putting themselves in harm's way, going into dangerous situations unarmed, not knowing what they might come up against.

 

"We have the finest police officers in the world, and we owe them all a deep debt of gratitude."

 

'Scrapped targets'

Mrs May insisted that, despite cuts to police forces' budgets, crime would not rise.

 

Criticising the previous government's record, she said: "We need to cut the bureaucracy and get back to fighting crime. So we've taken an axe to police red tape, saving up to 4.5 million police hours a year and getting the equivalent of an extra 2,100 officers back onto the streets.

 

"We need to give the police the freedom to use their judgement. So we've scrapped all police targets and given them a single objective - to cut crime.

 

"We need police forces to be run efficiently with their resources in the right places. So we're rooting out waste, joining up procurement, and reforming police pay so we reward crime-fighting, not just time served.

 

"Put simply, we need police forces that are single-minded about fighting crime."

 

She warned of an "underbelly" of gang culture in cities.

 

Moving on to anti-social behaviour, Mrs May promised: "We will change the law so when a criminal receives an out-of-court community punishment, the victim will be given the power to choose the form it takes.

 

"They'll be given a list of options. They might want something restorative or punitive. They might want it to be carried out nearby or as far away as possible. But what matters is that the punishment will be chosen by the victim.

 

"For too long, victims of crime have had no voice - but this government is giving victims back their voice."

 

Mrs May argued that elections for police commissioners in England, which take place next month, would ensure this.

 

In a speech following the home secretary's, policing minister Damian Green joked about the replacement of Ken Clarke as justice secretary by Chris Grayling, who is considered to be more of a hardliner on law and order.

 

He said: "Theresa used to lock them up and Ken let them out. Now... Theresa locks them up and Chris throws away the key."

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19887791

 

Conservative conference: Now or later for EU referendum?
3 years ago

Conservative conference: Now or later for EU referendum?

Video  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19870595

 

David Cameron has again dangled the prospect of a referendum on Europe, but said it will not be in this Parliament.

 

Adam Fleming asked Tory delegates at the party's Birmingham conference if they want that vote, later or now.

 

 

Conservative conference: Britain's confidence is back, says Miller
3 years ago

Conservative conference: Britain's confidence is back, says Miller

Olympic opening ceremony
The Olympic opening ceremony was watched by 27 million people in the UK

Britain's pride has been restored by the Olympics and Paralympics, with the smooth running of the events making the country "the envy of the world", Culture Secretary Maria Miller says.

 

Global attention had helped investment and jobs, which would be the "real legacy", she told the Tory conference.

 

Ms Miller called the BBC and Channel 4's coverage "ground-breaking".

 

She added the Olympic and Paralympic athletes would devote 5,000 days a year to coach and mentor young people.

 

Ms Miller, the final minister to address the conference in Birmingham ahead of Prime Minister David Cameron's closing speech, said the government was "exceeding expectations" in improving infrastructure.

 

'Embarrassment of riches'

The rollout of the 3G mobile phone network was six months ahead of schedule and, by 2015, 90% of the UK would have superfast broadband, she added.

 

Ms Miller also defended the Conservative leadership's policy of legalising gay marriage, telling activists: "The state should not stop two people from making the commitment to be married unless there's a good reason. I don't believe being gay is one of them."

 

The summer saw celebrations for the Queen's 60 years on the throne, while Britain's Olympians and Paralympians won 185 medals at the London Games.

 

In what will be seen as a warm-up speech ahead of Mr Cameron's address, Ms Miller said: "To those that say it was just a summer of sport, just a jubilee, I would say realign your vision. Look beyond the moment and see what Britain at its best on the centre of the world stage can mean.

 

"Think of the jobs it can and has created, the influence it can and has exerted, the investment it can and has brought. This will be the real legacy of the Olympics."

 

She told Tory members: "We have always been proud of our union flag, of our culture, of our Queen, of our United Kingdom. Under a Labour government the British Spirit was dampened. Labour felt apologetic for being British.

 

"Conference, this summer with Conservatives in government, Britain has regained its pride.

 

"We have always said that Britain has an embarrassment of riches. And this summer we have been, quite simply, the envy of the world. Her Majesty the Queen standing on the balcony at Buckingham Palace, the Mall jam-packed, the Red Arrows flying overhead… made us proud to be British."

 

Ms Miller said: "And when the world turned its gaze on us, it saw a country confident of its unique cultural heritage.

 

"We didn't only exceed expectations on the track but the phenomenal global media coverage exceeded expectations too. The approach of the BBC and Channel 4 were ground breaking. You never had to miss a moment. The digital complexity behind that is astonishing and has set a new gold standard."

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19896906

 

David Cameron tells Conservatives: Britain can rise again
3 years ago

David Cameron tells Conservatives: Britain can rise again

 

In full: David Cameron's speech to the 2012 Conservative conference

video

 

David Cameron has vowed "to get behind people who want to get on in life" to ensure Britain can "rise" again.

 

In his speech to the Conservative Party's annual conference, the prime minister admitted the economic recovery was taking longer than expected.

 

But he said Labour offered no credible alternative and the country could only weather the storm under his leadership.

 

He vowed to build an "aspiration nation" driven by individual ambition - the "doers, the risk-takers".

 

Taking a swipe at "intellectuals" like Labour leader Ed Miliband - who last week attempted to seize the moderate "one-nation" mantle from the Conservatives - he said: "We don't preach about One Nation but practise class warfare, we get behind people who want to get on in life".

 

Labour, he said, was a "party of one notion: more borrowing".

 

'Great things'

There were few light moments during Mr Cameron's 50 minute address, which he delivered from behind a lectern, as he tried to "set out a serious argument" about how Britain can get through its economic difficulties.

 

The Olympics and Paralympics showed that Britain could "do great things", he said, but there was a danger the UK could join other nations "on the slide".

 

"My job - our job - is to make sure that in this 21st century, as in the centuries that came before, our country, Britain, is on the rise.

 

"And we here know how that is done. It is the collective result of individual effort and aspiration, the ideas you have, the businesses you start, the hours you put in.

 

"Aspiration is the engine of progress. Countries rise when they allow their people to rise."

 

Like Ed Miliband last week, Mr Cameron eschewed policy announcements in favour of stressing how his own background had formed his political values.

 

He spoke about his father, Ian, who died last year. From him he had learned: "Work hard. Family comes first, but put back into the community too."

 

He also spoke about his disabled son Ivan, who died in 2009, saying his best moment of the summer was putting a gold medal around the neck of Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds.

 

"When I used to push my son Ivan around in his wheelchair, I always thought that some people saw the wheelchair, not the boy," he told activists.

 

"Today more people would see the boy and not the wheelchair - and that's because of what happened here this summer."

 

He also fired the starting gun on the Conservatives' campaign to keep the United Kingdom together, saying he was going to meet SNP leader and Scotland's first minister Alex Salmond to "sort out" a referendum by the end of 2014.

 

Page 1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19890459

 

3 years ago

'Spread privilege'

"There are many things I want this coalition to achieve but what could matter more than saving our United Kingdom. Let's say it: we're better together and we'll rise together - so let's fight that referendum with everything we've got."

 

The Conservatives have this week stressed that the government would not deviate from its austerity plan and, while the economy was starting to "heal", further sacrifices would be needed beyond the next election.

 

Mr Cameron told Tory activists: "Unless we act, unless we take difficult, painful decisions, unless we show determination and imagination, Britain may not be in the future what it has been in the past.

 

"Because the truth is, we're in a global race today. And that means an hour of reckoning for countries like ours. Sink or swim. Do or decline."

 

But he also stressed his commitment to "compassionate Conservatism", saying his "mission" since he became Tory leader in 2005 was to "show the Conservative Party is for everyone: North and South, black or white, straight or gay.

 

"But above all to show that Conservative methods are not just the way we grow a strong economy, but the way we build a Big Society."

 

He also sought to address criticism - fuelled by the row over Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell allegedly calling a police officer a "pleb" - that the Conservatives were elitist and out of touch.

 

He told activists he did not have a "hard luck story" to tell, but stressed "I am not here to defend privilege, I'm here to spread it".

 

But, for Labour, shadow Cabinet Office minister Michael Dugher said: "This was a defensive speech from an out-of-touch, clearly rattled leader who cannot be the one-nation prime minister we need."

 

Page 2  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19890459

3 years ago

That is the end of the Conservative conference for another 12 months, I just hope there's no State Opening of Parliament shortly. 

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